an internet website

Browsing Posts published in March, 2010

Fuji TV

No comments

Went down to Ichihara last night for the first time in a while, for a farewell party at my old workplace. On the way back, was stuck at the station for a bit since the trains were super delayed due to the wind. Uchibo line is almost as bad as Musashino as far as minor things causing late or canceled trains.

At some point I went to the men’s room. There was no one else in there, except for some girl in her 20’s or 30’s at the sink, which was weird but I didn’t think too much of it. At the time I assumed maybe the women’s restroom was totally packed or something. I didn’t really care too much – I’m used to having old women in the men’s restroom to clean, etc., which is pretty normal in Japan. Either way I went to the farthest of the 4 urinals to do my business. As soon as I’m starting up the process, the girl walks over towards me. Uhhh. So yeah this weird chick is standing a little too close for comfort, but there wasn’t much I could have done to get away from her. Here’s our brief conversation (translated from J):

Girl: “Excuse me”
Me: “Uhhh”
Girl” “Will you… go to Fuji Television with me?”
Me: “No, I’m not going there.”

Then she left. I finished, washed my hands (although of course like 90% of J-bathrooms there was no soap and nothing to dry your hands with), and went back out into the main area of the station to tell this story. The weird girl was roaming around, alternating between talking to other people and talking to herself. I don’t think she was drunk, but she was definitely crazy. I don’t understand what her deal was, but she was lucky I didn’t pee on her as a defense tactic.



I’ve been using the same dry cleaners since I moved to Chiba city back in late 2007.  It’s right around the corner from my apartment, and is cheap and fast which is nice.  The weird thing about dry cleaners in Japan is that they’re everywhere.  There might be almost as many cleaners as there are convenience stores, and those are pretty much on every block.  I’m exaggerating, of course, but just barely.  On my way to the grocery store, for example, which is only a few blocks away, I pass by 3 conbinis.

But oh yeah, my dry cleaners story.  So my dry cleaners has a stamp card – every time you spend 500 yen, you get a stamp.  After 30 stamps, the card is full.  Nothing is written on it about what happens when you fill up a card, but I assumed you get some kind of prize, or maybe special membership status, etc.  I wasn’t really sure, but since I had to get my suits and stuff cleaned anyway, it didn’t really matter.  I was kind of looking forward to fulling up the card, though, in the back of my mind.

Dry cleaning cardThen finally, today, after two and a half years of watching the stamp count slowly increase, I finished it.  I had 30 little “Masaki” stamps and I was ready to claim my prize.  Victory was mine.  Would I get like a special gold card to show my status as a power user of the dry cleaning shop?  Maybe a gift certificate to help offset my years of dry cleaning costs?  Sure if you do the math I’d only really spent about 15000 yen (USD$150) over 2.5 years, but the buildup was killing me.  The grumpy old dude at the cleaners took my dirty clothes today and stamped my card to the last blank space (what you see on the left here is the new card).

And what did I get for my waiting?  My grand prize for cleaning my suits and shirts enough to warrant a second stamp card?

Drumroll please…..

千葉市可燃物用 ゴミ袋Umm yeaaaaah.  After loyally going to Masaki Dry Cleaners for 2.5 years, my prize for filling up the stamp card was a pack of &#@%ing trash bags.  A whole buck fifty’s worth of plastic bags.  Thanks a lot grumpy old dude.


Over the weekend I got the hook-up from Brian and Bryan to go with them on a free bus tour to Niigata.  Niigata’s up like northwest of Tokyo near the Japan Sea and is famous for rice, sake, and ski resorts.  I’d never been there before and didn’t have anything planned so I figured why not.  It was overall pretty fun since it was like a short road trip with friends, but I don’t know if the actual planned activities on the tour were as awesome as I had imagined.  It was a pretty rough schedule too, so that might have something to do with it.

バスWoke up around 5AM on Saturday morning in order to get to Ikebukuro by 7:40.  The only people I knew of course were Brian, Bryan, and Saori, but whatever.  There were some actual tourists on the bus and some of B and B’s coworkers who seemed all right.  We took a Greyhound-ish bus from there up to Niigata, stopping along the way at 2 or 3 “service area” rest stops.  These are significantly better than highway rest stops in the US being that they actually have decent restaurants and shops, lights at night, and restrooms that have been cleaned this decade.  Also there is much less of a sense of “you will be gruesomely murdered here.”  The bus ride took about 5 or 6 hours, which was pretty grueling to be honest.  I was able to get some sleep but not as much as I would have liked.


After getting to Niigata we immediately went to the “main event” of this tour, the にいがた酒の陣 (Niigata Sake no Jin), a convention for Japanese rice wine.  They had over 500 different varieties you can sample, which meant by the time we got there around 2 in the afternoon, there was a huge crowd of old Japanese guys stumbling around totally red faced.  There were seriously people sitting on the ground completely wasted.  We also saw a women who had passed out in a pool of her own vomit get carried away in a wheelchair.  I heard her friends say something like “she’s resting.  She should be fine in about 30 minutes.”  What a country.  I’m no big sake connoisseur, but they had some good ones and some bad ones there.  In addition to just regular sake, they had plum wine (umeshu) and the unfortunately named and milky white in color jizake, a kind of unfiltered rice wine.

We stayed at the show for a few hours, even though it seems like most people on the tour, including us, would have been fine with leaving earlier.  We checked into the Toyo Inn and went to dinner, covered by the tour.  It was a pretty fancy sushi place, but unfortunately the tour only covered one drink and like 10 pieces of sushi.  I mean, the sushi was really awesome, but 10 little pieces of fish on rice isn’t what I would call a full dinner.  Afterwards a small group of us went out to get dinner and drinks at a standard izakaya.  This ended up being a pretty long night, topped off with some awesome spicy ramen.

せんべい王国Slept for a few hours again, at least actually in a bed this time.  Woke up for another 9AM meeting time.  We were taken to the せんべい王国 (Rice Cracker Kingdom), which sounds about 50 times more sweet than it actually was.  It was pretty much just a small senbei store that also had a small factory in it.  They at least had some funky little mascot characters I guess, but to be called a Kingdom I was expecting something more Namja-like.  We also hit up some kind of museum village or something that didn’t have much worth mentioning except we found a hidden PaRappa the Rapper in the wall displays.  Lunch was at some “wealthy mansion owner’s home” that has been converted into a tourist trap, but at least they had pretty good traditional Japanese food.

So yeah I’ve been to Niigata!

Lipstick on a pig


For a while I had been planning on totally re-designing my website, since effectively things haven’t changed (aside from slight visual changes) since I first created this page and the accompanying blog. This was about 5 or 6 years ago.

I kind of got distracted and fell behind. Oops!

But anyway, as you can see, I finally got around to totally re-doing things. A lot of this had to do with Blogger phasing out support for FTP.  Since I had been relying on Blogger publishing via FTP to my server since 2003 when I initially set up the site, I was pretty much boned and had to find a different solution.  Eventually I decided to switch to the WordPress platform, using it not only for the blog but as a CMS for the entire site.  It took me a little while to find a theme that could be edited to my liking, then I had to take care of importing posts from the old Blogger – I never updated my Blogger platform like 4 years ago when they overhauled their system so I was seriously using some old technology.  On top of that, since I had been using old Blogger with Haloscan for comments, it was near impossible to transfer all my old comments over properly.  I’m still working on that.

As of now, the blog is pretty much completely moved to this new location.  I’m still working on adding back pictures, using Gallery2 as the management system.  I also kind of like the Lifestream plugin (my Lifestream), although right now there’s not much in it except for Tweets and a lot of Diggs.  There are of course still a lot of little bugs and things I’m going to work on over the next few weeks, but at least the page is mostly up and the systems are in place to make using this site (for me) easier.  I pretty much had to give myself a refresher/crash-course in basic HTML and PHP, so it was kind of a fun little project.

I’ll write a bit more about specific things I need to work on still, after the jump.  Yes, I can do that now.  Click on “continue reading” to see the rest of this post.

Update your links please

1 comment

I think I have all the redirects working, but just to make things easier, if you have a second:

New URL for the blog:

New URL for blog’s RSS feed:

Random Nick Roberts picture:

Powered by WordPress Web Design by SRS Solutions © 2024 Design by SRS Solutions